We recognise that some adults lack confidence or knowledge when it comes to technology. Along with other organisations, NAHT recommends that parents and children have open and constructive conversations about the use of technology.
We have suggested five tips for families considering an internet-enabled gift, so that they are as ‘switched on’ as possible when they talk to their children:
- Make sure your children feel confident they can come to you if they need help or are unsure about anything that happens online.
- Have open and open regular conversations with your children about technology and their use of it. Agree a set of family rules, including around screen time.
- Check the capabilities of the devices your child uses including toys. Does it have internet access? Can it be used to communicate with others?
- Be aware of and follow the age requirements of many social media apps and services, as well as games.
- Help your child get started. Find out what safety tools or parental controls are available, and how they work and set them up as appropriate. For younger children, supervise their use.
These guidelines have been drafted in cooperation with Childnet International, a non-profit organisation working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
With internet-enabled toys and online devices being popular gifts for children and young people this time of year, NAHT general secretary, Paul Whiteman said “We would never suggest that parents completely avoid buying smartphones, tablets or games consoles but we would urge them to think carefully about the right gift for their child and to talk to them about what boundaries and permissions will be set.”
First published 11 December 2019